Got bugs & ticks?
GET GUINEAS!

the gardener's best helpers...


 

Copyright © 1997 - 2013 by Jeannette S. Ferguson.  All Rights Reserved.
Information or graphics created for this site may not be copied
or reproduced in any form without written permission.

This website was created to provide helpful pictures and basic information about keeping guinea fowl by Jeannette S. Ferguson (Frit), author of Gardening with Guineas: a 131 page guide book about raising guinea fowl from egg through adult.

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Welcome to my online guinea farm. Through my book and this website, I hope you will find all of the answers you need to raise and keep guinea fowl successfully.

You will find links at the bottom of this page for even more information provided through the Guinea Fowl Message Board and a private Guinea Fowl Chat Room where we share stories and have fun while learning. Join in the fun. I hope to see you there! - Frit

chickens

 

Yes, you can eat guinea eggs.
2 guinea eggs = 1 large chicken egg
(eggs for human consumption should be
collected several times daily and stored properly)

egg
 


© 1998  Fenced Yard attached to Poultry House

Keeping free-ranging Guinea Fowl with chickens

The guineas fly up to the landing board on top a 6' high fence that surrounds the poultry yard, then on down to free-range on the other side. The poultry yard is attached to the henhouse where guinea fowl and chickens share living quarters. Encouraging guinea fowl to maintain a routine is necessary. My guineas return each evening to roost by flying back up to the landing board, down into the fenced yard and through the bird door that we close to keep predators from entering while they roost safely indoors over night. 

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"BUT I CAN'T KEEP A GUINEA !!!"

This seems to be what I hear most "from everyone else"...and the biggest concern about guineas. First off, in the beginning, it is easier to start with KEETS. Older guinea fowl will often leave to find their way "HOME" just as soon as you turn them loose - unless you are able to retrain them (which is not impossible if you are willing to take the time).

Begin with day old keets when possible. If you want to give your keets the best chance to survive, be prepared by reading "Gardening with Guineas" before purchasing keets and follow the step by step guidelines in the book. Six is a good number to start with. When young, the keet can be handled like a parakeet. You can even teach a keet to sit on your finger! Of course, this is only if you handle it/them often. While it is not necessary to make keets so tame that they will allow touching and handlinng and petting, some enjoy this accomplishment. (If not handled at all, the keets and adults will be rather jumpy and wild, never allowing you to touch them willingly.

Keets must be kept warm until they are fully feathered, a brooder with room enough to get away from the heat source is necessary. Day old keets need to be ina 95 degree brooder, temp lowered 5 degrees weekly until they are fully feathered (6 weeks). Feed them turkey starter/grower (medicated with Amprolium to help to prevent an outbreak of coccidiosis) for for the higher protein content. Later, when set free, guineas on range will consume mostly bugs, and weed seeds, and munch on a small amount of regular feed in the evening before roosting for the night. (They will eat more feed in the winter when the snow covered ground hides a lot from them) When big enough to leave the brooder, my keets are moved into a holding pen inside the adult guinea house, where I have a large section they can see the others from, and visa versa. They stay INSIDE this "nursery" for 6 full weeks. This 6 week period is the key to the success of keeping your guineas home.

At the end of this period, I open the door from the nursery to the adult section, and when THEY are ready, they come out. At first they will try flying up to the roosts, then check out the chickens nesting boxes, and continue to go into their little nursery at night. They will eventually peek outside into the attached poultry yard, and after a few days, will go out on their own. The hen's yard has a 6 foot fence around it, mainly to keep the hens protected from the fox and coyote around here. But, the guineas simply fly over it and are free to roam (free range) the yard and gardens. Each night they ALWAYS come back to their home inside the henhouse to roost with the chickens. They need the protection of the building for weather extremes and safety from predators. OH, sure, you can let them be wild and roost in your trees, and eventually hawk, owls, raccoons, coyote or fox, etc. will get them.

Oh, I lose some too. The guinea hens like to lay eggs in secluded nests on the ground. In season, they will lay an egg a day, continuing to come HOME each night to roost. Once there is a clutch of 20-30 eggs, a guinea hen might decide to go broody, then she will stay on the nest. Guinea Hens will often share nests, which explains finding the addition of 2 or more eggs to a nest in a day. The nest is extremely hard to find, so, when this happens, there is a really good chance you might just lose your hen to a predator. Try to find her by searching along the fence rows and in high grasses. Her mate might be seen guarding her during the day, but will usually go home to roost at night when she needs his protection the most. 

You might want to consider setting up a dog kennel in your barn or henhouse, and moving her nest and all, into that kennel. CLICK FOR DETAILS If she is determined, she will safely hatch those eggs, and take care of her keets. If you allow her to stay in the open, and she does hatch her eggs, most likely they wont last long.  Guineas are not the best mothers when outdoors, sometimes taking their keets out into wet grass or leaving them in the rain, which is the keets worst enemy. In all the years I have raised guineas, I have yet to have a guinea hatch a clutch and bring any keets home alive on her own. Either a predator or the wet grass gets to them first. If you want to let her stay outdoors on the nest, at least try to enclose an area around her with some temporary fencing so she will get some protection from predators.

Once in the henhouse, the guineas are able to eat whatever I feed the chickens. My adult chickens are fed egg maker crumbles.  (Chickens are normally not fed the higher protein turkey feed.)  If you have guineas only in your henhouse, you can feed a game bird ration. When old enough to free range, the adult guineas diet consists of 90% bugs and weed seeds, hence my theme....Gardening with Guineas. Guineas eat the nasty bugs that have destroyed my flowers.  (They may munch on a bit of chicken feed when they return to roost in the evenings...but not much.) 

Guineas love to look at their reflection. When friends told me of Guineas sitting on a deck railing, I suggested they hang a mirror out on the side of the guinea coop at ground level. Guinea fowl like to look at themselves, and were on the deck railing admiring themselves in the reflection of the patio doors. They followed my suggestion, and the roosting on the deck railing stopped.

My book will address most questions you will have about raising guinea fowl from egg through adult. If you have other questions, please use the forum linked below so that others who frequent the site may also benefit from answers to your question.

My purpose in raising guinea fowl is to help free my flower beds of insects, mainly Japanese Beatles, and to eat those nasty ticks! The guineas do not harm my flowers or flower beds. They Help them! The guineas will walk right through my flower beds and pick off those bugs without harming a single leaf.*S* Chickens scratch...and will destroy plants, so I do not allow my chickens to free range. If you do not use mulch, guineas might just find an inviting open, soft spot in your flowerbeds to dust in, so do provide a place to encourage your birds to dust bathe. 

Member of the National Poultry Improvement PlanPlease note that Frit's Farm is an ONLINE farm open for visitors 24/7 but is not to be confused with our home and private residence. Many people have asked about dropping in to tour our farm. I am sorry, but we are not open to the public for tours. The danger of illness to our free-ranging flock being brought in by visitors is too great. Also, we do not have public facilities nor do we carry extra insurance for public tours. I hope that you understand our position. We practice biosecurity.

I hope you enjoy the online tour of our farm through the dozens of pictures provided below. Thank you for visiting Frit's Farm.

Frequently Asked Questions: Answers Include Pictures of Guinea Fowl

Guinea Fowl Book  step by step guide
Guinea Eggs  compared to chicken eggs
Three Ways  to hatch guinea eggs.
Egg Candling at 10-12 days.
Keet Hatch  eggs hatching & newborns
The Brooder  a first home        Movie - growing up
Starter Feed  Guinea Fowl diet
The "Nursery" - A holding pen
Male or Female,  - Pictures of each
Sounds Guineas Make - identify sex
Guinea Fowl Color Chart  - all ages
White Millet - guinea fowl treat
Henhouse & Setup - Frit's coop
Guinea Housing - simple-elaborate+plans
Nighttime PREDATORS - safety
Slide Show - guineas on Frit's Farm
NPIP -National Poultry Improvement Plan
Photographs - donated by visitors

Guineas in a residential area
Lyme Disease Control - Ticks
Guineas around Dogs - Cows - Emus +
Let it Snow, Let it snow, let it snow...
Up on a housetop - OH MY!
Training Guineas - even "taming" IS possible
Pinioning & Clipping Wings
Cross-breeds - guinea / chicken cross
Congenital Anomaly - confused cells
Exotic - Vulturine & Crested Guinea Fowl
African Guinea Fowl - with blue heads
Craft Project - suitable for classroom or child.
Guinea Fowl Puzzle - just for fun. 
Guinea Fowl Dancing - with sound
Budding Young Artists - drawings
Eustolios - Guinea Fowl Mosaics
Guinea Fowl School - in Africa
Fritillaria Meleagris - Guinea Hen Flower

 

 

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